photo: Courtesy of Packer Shopf Gallery, c. 2006.
In a fragile art world, where gallery closings can happen more often than openings, Aron Packer is doing something right. In fall 2006 he moved shop from the gallery he kept for five years on Peoria Street to a space twice as large on Lake.
The new space, dubbed Packer Schopf Gallery, merges arts enthusiast and Music Box owner William Schopf's resources with Packer's razor sharp curatorial wit and complete roster of resident artists.
Were Wes Anderson an art dealer, he would have much in common with Packer, who shows artists invested in the worlds of adolescence, domesticity and political dissatisfaction, and who always seem to marry tragedy and comedy in deliciously ironic ways. Packer's post-pop vision embraces feminism and activism among other isms, presented in media that range from photography to scrimshaw to outsider art to comics. He provides a home for varied artworks like Dee Clemente's autobiographical stories embroidered on hankies, Robert Hovarth's lacquered paintings of sexy youth, Mark Mothersbaugh's illustrations and Michael Hernandez de Luna's subversive stamp art.
The larger space allows for more of this creativity to be on display in conjunction, with plenty of room to show, for instance, the work of a contemporary photographer next to that of an 80-year-old self-taught painter."
Located a bit off the beaten path and literally rattled by the proximity of the Green Line train, the newer gallery is a destination worth visiting. In addition to exhibiting throughout the giant first floor, Packer plans to pack intimate shows into the gallery's basement.
Centerstage Reviewer: Joanne Hinkel